YMA-SUMAC.COM: Miss Sumac, I think it is best to start off with all of
the rumors and mysteries first, just to get them out of the way.
I know the truth, but it seems so many people don't.
Y.S.: Yes, OK.
WHY DO YOU THINK THIS "AMY
CAMUS FROM BROOKLYN" RUMOR HAS LASTED SO LONG?
Y.S.: Because people like to
bring down those who are at the top. This started in the early 50's, and it
is riduculous that people still ask this question. A person with a 5 octave
voice would not have to lie about where they came from! It would make no
difference WHERE they came from! For the record, I am from Peru.
DID YOU HAVE VOCAL OR
Y.S.: No, dahling. I just sing
and what comes out is what you hear. When I was a little girl, I didn't know
my voice was any different than anyone elses. I have sang arias in my
concerts, though. Even some that were meant only for orchestra!
Y.S.: I sang
'O Mio Babbino Caro'
and one very beautiful one, not meant for vocals,
'Claire De Lune.'
Another VERY VERY difficult piece, also not meant for vocals,
'The Magical Flute.'
I sang that in Italy, when a critic made me angry.
Y.S.: Well, in the 50's I went to Italy
and a very important critic said to me, "Madame Sumac, with all due respect,
here in Italy we have the greatest singers in the world. So do not expect
the same kind of reviews you received everywhere else in the world." I
raised one eyebrow, but said nothing. That night, I did
'The Magical Flute' and my voice was the flute! I got a standing ovation for over 20 minutes!
Afterwards the critic did not come to my dressing room to visit...he left! (laughs).
That same night, a VERY big name singer came up to me and said, "Miss Sumac...PLEASE
stick with your OWN music! When you sing operatic arias the way you did
tonight, we can't compete with you! We are supposed to be the best, you know!"
DO YOU STILL SING?
Y.S. Yes, but not too often. I
sang all my life and travelled all my life, signed millions of autographs
and posed for a million pictures. It was great, but now I have other
priorities. So I perform only on rare occassions these days. I went back
to Peru in May of 2006 to accept several very important awards. I must have
come home with 6 or 7!
HOW EXCITING! WHAT DO
YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
Y.S.: I exercise my voice and of course my
body too. I do not want to lose my abilities! I spend time with trusted
friends. I like to see the television too. Have you seen that Mr. Springer
show? My God! The people fighting and the things they say! I watch that when
I want a break from educational
YOU HAVE ENORMOUS ENERGY.
OF COURSE I WILL NOT ASK YOUR AGE (brief pause) BUT I AM CURIOUS ABOUT YOUR
Y.S.: I have never been TRULY
sick! I am very lucky that way. I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and non-fried
chicken. I take all natural multiple vitamins and Ginko. I also take extra
garlic capsules and vitamn C. I wake everyday at 5.a.m but stay in bed a
little longer, then prepare for the day. Rest is very important. After my
concerts, I have always went directly to my hotel room, removed my makeup
and went to the bed. To keep my voice and health in shape, I had to do this.
Other singers, I won't say any names, went out to parties every night and
did the cha-cha-cha and pa-pa-pa and drank liquor all night. Their health
and vocals didn't last.
DID YOU EVER MARRY AGAIN
AFTER MOISES VIVANCO?
Y.S.: No. Once was enough. I was
always a very busy woman. My art came first.
EVERYONE LIKES TO TALK
ABOUT YOUR CONNECTION TO LES BAXTER. IT IS SAID YOU DID NOT GET A LONG WITH
Y.S. (bristling): He wanted credit for EVERYTHING!
BOTH he and Moises took credit for many of MY compositions! I am not only a
singer, you know. ALL of the improvisations on my records were my idea. They
came off the top of my head, from within. Mr. Baxter wanted credit for all
my success! NO! Outrageous. Such an ego. His followers can believe whatever
they like, but I know the truth.
YET YOU WORKED ON 'MIRACLES'
WITH HIM AGAIN, IN 1970.
Y.S.: Again, another bad experience. I do
like very much though, 'Magenta
Mountain' from that record.
WHAT DID YOUR PARENTS
THINK OF YOUR SUCCESS?
Y.S. :I started very young, on
radio shows near where I lived. I kept this a secret at first, even from my
parents! But they found out, and eventually accepted it. They were very
upset though, when I left Peru to come to America. When they saw the great
success all over the world, they supported my choice. They came to many of
my concerts. My mother was a great woman. She was very strong, but she also
had a very gentle side. She never let a lost cat or dog go hungry, or any
children. My father was a very good man and supported anything I did. My
sisters have always lived in Peru and still do today.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE
SONGS FROM YOUR RECORDS?
Y.S.: I love
from the Sun Virgin record, because it is sung to a child. Of course I love
WHY DID YOU NOT MAKE
Y.S.: I did two for Paramount in the 50's.
I was too busy touring almost every year. I was recording a lot too. I did
some films in Mexico though, that not many people know of. 'Musica
De Siempre' and 'Las
Canciones Unidos' in the late 50's,
but I also did some much earlier. I usually only sang in them anyway! Music
was more important to me, always.
YOU HAVE ALWAYS WORN THE
MOST EXTRAORDINARY STAGE COSTUMES. WHO CAME UP WITH THE DISIGNS?
Y.S.: I did, along with my
oldest sister Maruja. She is still alive!
YOU ARE A LEGEND IN A
CLASS ALL YOUR OWN.
Y.S.: If the people say I am a
legend...well, maybe I am a legend.
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